"After the sharp drops in temperature over the last few days and the halt in deliveries by Turkmenistan, exports of gas to Turkey have been cut to a minimum," Tehran's Fars news agency quoted an Iranian official as saying.
"We are obliged to deliver 20 million cubic meters of gas [706 million cubic feet] to Turkey daily, but now the volume of exports has been reduced to 5 million cubic meters [177 million cubic feet]," the source noted.
Iran had completely halted its gas exports to Turkey in January 2007 for five days, again due to a domestic consumption crunch. Turkey swiftly looked for alternatives in the midst of the winter and had to buy from Gazprom at more expensive prices. Iran is now seeing heavy snowfall and temperatures of -10 degrees Celsius. In addition to the soaring demand for gas by Iranians, the halt in gas supplies from Turkmenistan -- which normally meets 5 percent of Iran's consumption needs -- exacerbated the problem. Turkmen officials cited "technical problems" as the reason for the interruption of flow. Iran's annual struggle to meet domestic gas demands in winter belies its status as the owner of the second largest gas reserves in the world after Russia.